rich emollient used in the management of eczema, psoriasis and other dry skin conditions.


This week I heard about an amazing new product being made in Dorset with whey from grass grazed cow’s milk. I can’t drink milk because I’ve got a dairy allergy so I was only half listening, but when I realised they were talking about a vodka made from 100% pure milk my ears pricked up.

Vodka made from milk?

Dairy in vodka? Black Cow Pure Milk VodkaHow is that even possible?

And more importantly, why would anyone do that?

But not everyone has a dairy allergy and there are still plenty of vodka brands out there that don’t contain any dairy, but it did make me think – how do we know what vodka has been made with?

Vodka has always been a ‘safe’ drink that I knew wouldn’t cause me any allergic reaction. I ‘thought’ it did not contain any wheat or dairy or nuts but then it got me thinking. I knew that Coeliac UK list spirits as one of the alcoholic drinks which doesn’t contain gluten. I’m not a coeliac but I am allergic to wheat so I thought this meant spirits were safe for me too.

I’ve never seen a list of ingredients on a bottle of vodka so what is it made from?

What is vodka made from?

I always thought it was made from potato but, it’s not, not always. In fact, probably very rarely.

Wiki says that, “Vodka may be distilled from any starch- or sugar-rich plant matter; most vodka today is produced from grains such as sorghum, corn, rye or wheat. Among grain vodkas, rye and wheat vodkas are generally considered superior.”

What? So how do you find out which vodka is a sorghum vodka and is it even worth worrying about? Is there any allergen left in the product after distillation? Would someone allergic to one of the ingredients have a reaction? I know I react to wine that contains milk in the fining process so I think someone with an allergy to any ingredient could well experience some kind of reaction.

To make Black Cow pure milk vodka, they use the whey from the milk and a secret method of distilling the whey into a beer and then use that to make a 100% pure milk vodka – amazing. You can watch their fun little video which explains a little bit about how they do it here:

I suppose anything is possible but I cannot imagine what this product tastes like… weird?

If you have a dairy allergy and also enjoy the odd voddy, make sure you buy a brand you trust which is not brewed with 100% pure milk. Black Cow vodka is very clearly labelled as pure milk vodka so just keep your eyes peeled and don’t drink it milk allergic people!

I have never had an allergic reaction after drinking vodka but I don’t drink it that often anyway. If you do get unexplained reactions after drinking anything find out what’s in it – it could very easily contain allergens.

Finally, alcohol can speed up an allergic reaction so for those with allergies it’s important to make sure you know exactly what you’re drinking. Liquers can be made with nuts, cocktails can contain dairy, wine can contain milk and eggs, gin can contain almonds, beer can contain wheat… they are often not labelled with ingredients or allergens.

I think I’ll have a glass of water please…

For some further reading about alcohol and allergies, ‘Tired of Morning Hangovers? You Could Be Allergic to Alcohol’



An allergy and health writer and freelance copywriter, Ruth is passionate about helping those with allergies and food intolerances take control, embrace their condition, and learn to live with and love who they are. It can be very lonely finding you have allergies and discovering what helps you can be a life long journey. What works for one person won't work for another, so after trying nearly every allergy treatment under the sun and finding hours of research necessary to keep abreast of what's going on, Ruth started writing her blog, What Allergy? in April 2009. Ruth has life threatening allergies herself to all nuts, all diary, tomatoes and celery and knows first-hand what it's like to have an anaphylactic attack. Voted in the Top 5 UK allergy blogs by Cision UK in 2011, What Allergy is packed full of interesting articles, hints and tips and product reviews which are a must read for anyone with allergies, food intolerances or sensitivities, asthma and eczema. From subjects such as "What is celery allergy?" to "Surviving a holiday abroad with allergies", it's packed with useful and interesting information. You can register free for a weekly newsletter by visiting her website and also keep in touch by following her on Facebook and Twitter.

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